Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong (Chinese: 王俊傑;[1] March 8, 1984 – October 2, 2019) was a Canadian artist. Self-taught as a painter, Wong received critical acclaim for his work before his death in 2019 at the age of 35.[2][3][4] Roberta Smith, co-chief art critic at The New York Times, has praised Wong as "one of the most talented painters of his generation."[5]

Matthew Wong
Born(1984-03-08)March 8, 1984
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedOctober 2, 2019(2019-10-02) (aged 35)
EducationUniversity of Michigan & City University of Hong Kong


Wong was born in Toronto in 1984.[6] His family emigrated to Hong Kong when Wong was seven.[6] At the age of fifteen, his family returned to Canada, in part to support the treatment of Wong's autism.[6][7] Wong then attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, completing a degree in cultural anthropology in 2007.[7] He returned to Hong Kong the same year. In 2010 he enrolled at the City University of Hong Kong School of Creative Media, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography in 2012.[8][9][6][10]

Wong suffered from depression throughout his adult life.[6][7] He died by suicide in 2019 at age 35 in Edmonton, Alberta.[8][6][7]

Art careerEdit

Wong's creative work began with experiments with photography in 2009 and continued during his time as a student of photography at City University in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied with the idea of becoming a photographer, in 2014 Wong told Neoteric Magazine that "towards the end of my degree I felt I had gained no real skills or prospects that could take me forward in the professional world."[11][12] In 2012 he began experimenting with drawing.[8] He began painting landscapes in 2014.[8][9][12][13]

In 2016 he returned to Canada, settling in Edmonton.[8][12] Wong would post his paintings to Facebook. Through this, he met the curator and director of White Columns Gallery Matthew Higgs.[12] Wong would go on to exhibit at galleries in New York and Hong Kong. Curator Jerry Saltz called Wong's 2018 solo exhibition at Karma Gallery “one of the most impressive solo New York debuts I’ve seen in a while.”[12]

Due to their scarcity in the open market, Wong's works have attracted interest on the auction market. In 2020, a small watercolor on paper simply called Untitled was sold for four times its original estimate price after attracting a number of bids.[14][15] His first large painting available in an auction, The Realm of Appearances, was sold in July 2020 for US$1.82 million, twenty times its original estimate.[16][17] In December 2020, a painting called River at Dusk was sold for $4.86M, four times its original estimate.[18]

His Edmonton studio remains untouched.[19]

Solo exhibitionsEdit

  • 2021 Blue View, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto[20]
  • 2019 Blue, Karma, New York
  • 2019 Day by Night, Massimo De Carlo, Hong Kong[21]
  • 2018 Karma, New York[22][23]
  • 2018 galerie frank elbaz, Paris, France[24]
  • 2015 Pulse of the Land, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong[25]


His work is included in public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[26] the Museum of Modern Art, New York,[27] the Dallas Museum of Art,[28] the Aishti Foundation and the Estée Lauder Collection.[29]


  1. ^ "Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre Newsletter Oct-Dec 2015 -- 地的動脈 - 王俊傑繪畫 Pulse of the Land - Matthew Wong Paintings" (PDF).
  2. ^ Archive, Asia Art. "Matthew Wong: Chapter One". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  3. ^ "'He was just starting': The exceptional life and artistic legacy of Matthew Wong". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  4. ^ "Matthew Wong". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  5. ^ Smith, Roberta (2019-12-24). "A Final Rhapsody in Blue From Matthew Wong". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Genzlinger, Neil (2019-10-21). "Matthew Wong, Painter on Cusp of Fame, Dies at 35". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c d "Edmonton autistic artist remembered for achieving 'improbable territory' | CBC News".
  8. ^ a b c d e Russeth, Andrew (October 6, 2019). "Matthew Wong, Whose Indelible Canvases Charted New Paths for Landscape Painting, Is Dead at 35". ARTNews. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Matthew Woncg (1984–2019)". ArtForum. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  10. ^ Wong, Miss (2014-10-29). "They are artists: Matthew Wong". Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  11. ^ "NeotericArt". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  12. ^ a b c d e Freeman, Nate (7 October 2019). "The Art World Remembers Matthew Wong, Self-Taught Painter of Vibrant Landscapes, Who Has Died at 35". Artnet News. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Remembering Matthew Wong Through His Dreamy, Otherworldly Landscapes". ArtNews. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Sotheby's Online Contemporary Sale Fetches $13.7 Million—More Than Doubling the Previous Record for a Virtual Art Sale, Set Three Weeks Ago". artnet News. 2020-05-15. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  15. ^ Gleadell, Colin (2020-05-15). "Inside the record-shattering online bidding war between Frieze and Sotheby's". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  16. ^ "Matthew Wong | The Realm of Appearances". Sotheby's.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "A rising star before he died, Matthew Wong's art is fetching millions". South China Morning Post. 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  18. ^ "Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara Dominates Hong Kong Joint Auction | Auctions News | THE VALUE | Art News". Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  19. ^ "Matthew Wong's Life in Light and Shadow". New Yorker. 9 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  20. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (2021-08-04). "Major show devoted to Caribbean history to open at AGO". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  21. ^ "10 must-see art exhibitions in Hong Kong in February 2019". Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong. 2019-02-02. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  22. ^ "Matthew Wong's Hallucinatory Pilgrimages". Hyperallergic. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  23. ^ Saltz, Jerry (2018-04-19). "Losing Myself in the Paintings of Facebook-Educated Matthew Wong". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  24. ^ "Matthew Wong, Biography - galerie frank elbaz". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  25. ^ "ArtAsiaPacific: Obituary Matthew Wong19842019".
  26. ^ "Garden with Cosmic Vase 2016 Matthew Wong". Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  27. ^ "Matthew Wong. Unknown Pleasures. 2019 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  28. ^ "The West - DMA Collection Online".
  29. ^ "Matthew Wong". Karma. Retrieved 2020-06-06.